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SFUO vp social and three other student officials step down after graphic group chat posted online

File photo by Tina Wallace

Pat Marquis has resigned from his executive position on the Student Federation of the University of Ottawa (SFUO), along with three other elected student officials.

Marquis, who until March 1 filled the role of vp social on the SFUO executive, was part of a conversation that featured sexually aggressive comments about SFUO president Anne-Marie Roy, along with Larochelle and three other men.

“I sincerely apologize to Ms. Roy, my colleagues at the SFUO, and the student population for participating in an inappropriate conversation which was published online on February 28, 2014,” Marquis wrote.

He explained that the decision was based on his receipt of hate mail and threats, which made him feel unsafe in his position.

“I am very sorry this has happened,” he continued. “I have shown desire to cooperate and find solutions of accountability, but in this case resignation is the ultimate measure of accountability to the students.”

Alexandre Larochelle held the position of vp social commissioner for the Criminology Students’ Association. He directed his resignation to Roy shortly after Marquis submitted his.

“My immediate apology and attempts to resolve the recent situation with as little hurt and disrespect as possible have not been successful,” Larochelle wrote. “I deeply regret my comments (although private) and despite my commitment to the students I no longer feel I can represent you.”

Michel Fournier-Simard resigned from his vp social post on the Political, International and Development Studies Students Association. He said all four men stepped down “in the best interest of their respective associations to allow them to continue their activities effectively.” Alexandre Giroux resigned from his seat on the SFUO’s Board of Administration and from his position as vp social of the Science Students’ Association.

On a Facebook page created to demand the resignation of the four men, the Indigenous and Canadian Studies Students’ Association wrote that it “does not, in any way, endorse or encourage any kind of abuse or threats of violence” against them.

“We want these men removed from their positions as student representatives; we certainly do not want them to become in turn the recipients of the violence and abuse they have doled out,” the post reads. “Violence and abuse should not be tolerated towards anyone, no matter one’s dislike for them. That has been our point all along.”